RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today took final action on nine pieces of legislation from the 2020 General Assembly session, including the biennial budget. This concludes a historic legislative session that moved Virginia forward by enacting reforms to criminal justice and gun safety laws and investing in the Commonwealth’s world-class workforce, transportation infrastructure, and high-performing education system while ensuring protections for vulnerable Virginians, the environment, workers, women’s rights and voting rights.
“I am proud of the accomplishments we made together during this General Assembly session,” said Governor Northam. “We advanced long-neglected priorities, including rights and protections for Virginians. We were able to redirect funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and a number of the laws we enacted are proving to be more important than ever. My administration will continue to work with the General Assembly to craft budget and legislative responses to the pandemic’s effects on our Commonwealth.”
Governor Northam signed House Bill 30, the biennial budget. As originally passed, the budget bill made historic investments in environmental protection, workforce training, early childhood education, and other priorities. In April, Governor Northam and the General Assembly agreed to pause new spending and ensure the investments in the budget can be revisited in a special session, while also allowing flexibility to direct state funds where they are most needed in response to COVID-19. The budget also creates a coronavirus relief fund to assist with housing insecurity and small business loans, and ensures that nursing homes receive critical funding to help fight the pandemic.
Governor Northam took final action on eight other pieces of legislation that were returned by the General Assembly at its April 22nd reconvened session.
Governor Northam signed the following legislation:
- Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 972, identical bills that decriminalize simple marijuana possession.
- Senate Bill 215, which requires the state Board of Corrections to publish annually a report of reviews into deaths that occur in jails.
- Senate Bill 251, which establishes licensure and other requirements for pharmacy benefits managers.
- Senate Bill 891, which sets up comprehensive regulations governing pet shops.
Governor Northam vetoed the following bills:
Governor Northam’s administration has worked to expand access to affordable, quality care for all Virginians. The vetoed bills would address health insurance cost concerns for targeted segments of the population, but in doing so, could increase the cost of insurance for sicker Virginians in the marketplace. The Northam administration will continue to work to make sure more Virginians can get access to health care, and the Governor announced this week that he will appoint a new work group to focus on this issue and develop legislation for the 2021 General Assembly session that will support efforts to stabilize the health marketplace. Details on that work group will be announced soon.